Friday, February 5, 2010

That Fifties Show


elena-lu photo courtesy Flickr

It’s important to realize that our vision of life in space was formed by the star of I Love Lucy, Lucille Ball, who was a trained ballerina. She was Lu to Desi in Desilu Productions. Her husband, Desi Arnaz, a Cuban musician, insisted that the work be filmed on archival stock at four times the cost of ordinary footage, which is why we know about their work today.

Star Trek was their second series.
More after the jump.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What's in a Name?


Photo courtesy Flickr

The interior design community has added two categories to the list of French period furniture, “Louis the Hotel” and my favorite, “Louie Louie”.

-30- More after the jump.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Twenty-first Century Urban Farmhouse


Photo courtesy Flickr


It was my privilege a few years ago to visit a small family ranch in North Central Washington. I had read that a working agricultural operation will place a low priority on domestic amenities: productive equipment comes first. The barn might very well look better than the house.

The place I visited was a Victorian structure in sound condition. It had the gently weathered elegance that develops that dry environment, and while it had seen long use, it was carefully maintained. The pure air made renovating unnecessary. I was there as a city mouse with a country neighbor, and my hostess said, “We just do things the country way here,” as she served us coffee and a snack off flawless tableware that had landed at the end of a two thousand mile line of supply when the place was new. As we left, she casually offered my friend ten gallons of cream.

I know many people who make their livings out of their homes, and it's wise to choose furnishings that are good bargains or that produce income. I sense a fascinating aesthetic shift happening in interiors. They’re not an end in themselves any longer, but a means to a prosperous life. People are willing to improvise with nearly anything that will do what they want done. Electronics are more important than side tables.

Wendy Goodman’s work for New York Magazine, Norma Skurka’s classic Underground Interiors, and British Conde’ Nast’s World of Interiors are all inspiring sources of alternative design solutions. Your friends and neighbors probably are, too. Seventies designers Jay Steffy and Michael Taylor conjured elegance out of driftwood and floor pillows. Jed Johnston created elegant rooms from Seventies neo-classical furnishings. It’s all in the spacing.

If I were starting from scratch, fireproof security, wiring, and surge protection would be my first priorities, followed by fresh paint and detailing, shop lights, and a full field kit of state of the art ultra-light camping gear. The floor is the principal furnishing. Make it as appealing as can be and protect it by removing street shoes at the entrance.

-30- More after the jump.